In-Door Actuator

The sliding doors sometimes get a bad press - simply because they are different and mechanics are not familiar with them.

BUT 95% of problems are due to the in-door actuator (see below); another 4% are due to dirty contacts at the front edge of the doors leaving just 1% for other faults

 Youtube demo of worn and new actuators 

Try to avoid forcing the doors manually as it COULD stretch the cables and MIGHT cause the slack to jam on the motor drum or over-rev the drive motor. Should the electrics fail, just use sufficient force to get the door moving; no more. This includes garage mechanics!

Failure to open the door on the remote or the door switches

Inside the door there is a complex set of Bowden cables to operate the locks.  This shows the assemblies dismantled from the door.

This is the internal door handle mechanism - the internal handle is underneath in this picture.  The actuator is top left and operates the main unlock cable.

This is the lock at the back of the door - it should have three mechanical and one electrical connection and is usually trouble-free.


The electrically operated actuator:

A number have reported a failure (or slowed action) of this actuator as the cars age - the symptom is a failure to open the door on the remote or the door switches, though using the external door handle the door works OK.

It is possible to take the door panel off both doors and swap the actuator from the drivers side to the passenger side to check if it is faulty, however most will buy a new actuator and fit it.

The actuator is item 21 on the drawing; Peugeot part number is 661536

shows the wiring schematic - only two connections to the actuator so easy to check for 12 volts

shows the wiring harness (yellow) within the door.

this shows an actuator accidentally damaged when the mechanism was iced up - the links are still connected but out of line.

and another that was completely broken.

be aware that a damaged and jammed actuator can also mean the door won't unlock, trapping the driver inside. See below . . .

this shows the insides of an actuator - with the cover removed.  It can be damaged if too much force is applied via the INSIDE door handle.

and, from another actuator, the motor and return spring have been removed.

The worm that operates the sliding section seems to lose lubrication which increases friction, although the motors are known to burn out (possibly as a result of the extra friction).

a close-up of the mechanism.  The return spring is inside the black housing on the right.

Bench testing the actuator

a good actuator will pull in easily with 4 volts from a bench power supply; the worn one would not move.

after synthetic spray grease was applied to the moving parts on the worn actuator, the cover was refitted.  The worn actuator will now pull in with 4 volts so could be re-used, though it is not as enthusiastic and is noisier than a good actuator.

one of the indicators: - disconnect the actuator supply after it has pulled in; a good actuator will push out enthusiastically and bounce when it hits the end stop; the worn one was significantly less keen and didn't bounce.

 Excellent Youtube demo of worn and new actuators 

To access and replace the actuator:

  see excellent "how-to" .pdf  

  see excellent "how-to" Youtube video  

First - remove the door liner

have some replacement clips (6991 S6) available as some are sure to break!  Always fit a full set of clips or the liner can bow out and touch the rear wing as the door opens as there is very little clearance. Always buy more than you need; they are cheap enough and several will break each time you take the door panel off!

  1. Many parts on modern cars are built to very fine tolerances - be very careful disengaging and engaging the end actuator loop with the lever as the end of the lever can break off.   If you are in the factory doing 1,000's a day no problem but doing a one-off always takes extra care as you have to learn the trick.
  2. Andrew has pointed out that the actuator arm is actually two pieces clipped together and it is much easier to separate the two pieces which saves the fiddling about in 1. above.  It is certainly far quicker - you learn something every day!
  3. If you should pull too hard on the cables when changing the actuator, it is possible to jam the lock mechanism at the rear of the door with confusing results. As access is very limited, try relaxing the lock mounting screws and if you are lucky the lock will click back to its normal position.  Retighten the mounting screws.
  4. Be aware that a damaged actuator (as for example due to over-enthusiastic pulls on the inner handle) can jam the door lock and trap the person inside. After removing the inspection hatch and releasing, replacement is the only solution.